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Chiang Mai Creative City Delegation to the US

Part 1 of the action packed trip

Members of the CMCC delegation show off their U.S. Department of State certficates.

By Martin Venzky-Stalling
On 19 February 2010, the unofficial birthdate of the Chiang Mai Creative City (CMCC) initiative, the then Governor Amonrapun Nimmanandh declared that Chiang Mai should send a delegation to the US to learn from creative and innovative regions there. It took two years for this idea to come to fruition and he, one of the fathers of the initiative, was not able to join. On 2nd September 2012, a CMCC delegation of ten representatives from different organizations left Chiang Mai for an almost two week visit to the United States of America by invitation from the US Department of State. The itinerary was already a challenge, three, almost four cities, were to be visited and about 50 meetings had been arranged. The group arrived in San Francisco where on the first day the group had the rare opportunity for some sightseeing, shopping at Macy’s and dining in Professor Nat Vorayot’s (CMCC Chairman) favorite restaurant in San Francisco’s extensive China Town.
The highlights of the next day were meetings at Stanford University in Silicon Valley. The Group met with distinguished academics such as Professor William Miller, a well-known writer on high-tech clusters, and Professor Henry Etzkowitz, the founder of the triple-helix concept. Another highlight was the visit to BIO-X, an interdisciplinary center for biotechnology related R&D. All agreed that this was an interesting role model for the Northern Science Park in Chiang Mai.
Following days saw meetings with the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP) where the group learned about how entrepreneurship is part of the DNA of the Bay area (Silicon Valley) and students at Stanford must learn to work well with others in teams or ventures. In the afternoon, the group met the delegation of IT entrepreneurs from Chile’s prospering IT scene, before having some more time in San Francisco. Khun Premruedee of NOHMEX fulfilled her dream and visited to the Golden Gate Bridge.
The group arranged to visit IBM’s massive and futuristic Almaden Research Center near San Jose before flying to Austin, Texas.
On their first day in Austin, the group was greeted by Kevin Jones, Director of Austin, Texas’ Economic Growth and Redevelopment Office. Mr. Jones was behind Austin’s ascendance as the first CITY to the International Science Park Assocation (IASP). In other words, this global organisation accepted that the entire city of Austin is a kind creative and innovation city. After meeting with representatives from Austin entrepreneur scene (Gary Hoover and Bijoy Goswami), the group went to the famous IC2 and Austin Technology Incubator, both at the University of Texas, Austin, to discuss issues related to technology transfer, collaborative R&D and incubation. They later focused also on the opportunity to bring ATI’s three-day start-up weekend (3DS) to Chiang Mai. The evening was concluded with a reception and dinner at a Thai Restaurant in Austin, during which each member was bestowed the honor of being an Honorary Citizen of the City of Austin, though rumor had it that they would now also have to pay taxes in Austin! The next installment of the trip will be in the next issue of the Chiang Mai Mail.

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Chiang Mai Creative City Delegation to the US Part 1 of the action packed trip